Posts Tagged ‘Grill’

Another Sports Bar?  Yeah, well, I may not be a big fan of the decor but, I have been very happy with the food I’ve tasted in the various sports bars that we’ve visited in the last couple of years.  I think that Macadam’s Bar & Grill may just be the best yet.

MacadamsLocation: 5833 SW Macadam Ave., Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Macadam’s Dip (Turkey) and instead of fries, I opted for the Pear Slaw ($9.50), my husband and I ordered Beer Battered Onion Rings ($5) as an appetizer, and I had Iced Tea to drink.

What I Think:

Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, this is a sports bar, and the decor reflected that type of atmosphere.  However, if I were to rate sports bars on a scale of 1 – 5, with one being one of those sleazy, hole-in-the-wall sports bars where you felt like you needed a shower after you emerged from the bar, and five being a notch or two above acceptable and veering into almost upper class with its decor, I’d give Macadam’s a solid five.

It was clean and the decor was almost classy, at least for sports bar type of decor.  Although it was dark (which is why I couldn’t snap photos of the food, too dark and I can never get the flash to work right in my camera), it wasn’t unbearably loud, then again, we weren’t there while a game was playing so it would be hard to say how it would be during a game.  I enjoyed the blues music that played in the background.  I felt quite comfortable in this sports bar, and that was a definite plus.  The service was pleasant, and I enjoyed that there were Trivial Pursuit cards at the tables to keep us busy as we waited for our food to arrive.

The onion rings were some of the best thick cut onion rings I’ve yet to taste.  It was a tempura-like batter that cooked up light and airy … almost bubbly, which gave it a very nice crunchy exterior.  The ranch dipping sauce that came along with the onion rings was rather unremarkable, though, and I think that the onion rings would be even better if some thought were put into the dipping sauces.

I chose the turkey Macadam’s dip because I had never had a turkey dip sandwich before.  I’m a big fan of french dip sandwiches made with sliced roast beef, and the fact that Macadam’s smokes their turkey was particularly tantalizing to me.  And I am really glad that I chose this sandwich.  The turkey was delicious.  It was moist and tender, and it was smoked to perfection.

I chose the pear slaw to accompany my sandwich, mostly because the idea of a pear slaw intrigued me.  I don’t think I’ve had one before, and I love pears, so I wanted to try it.  It was a refreshingly light and sweet, crisp salad, and I enjoyed it, although I must admit that I did wish that the pear was just a wee bit more on the ripe side, as it was a little under-ripe for my liking.  Enjoyable, but, I think with a slightly riper pear it would have been fantastic … although it would have probably been a bit more difficult to prepare if the flesh of the pear were softer.

My husband ordered a burger and fries, and I snagged a few of his fries, and they were really good.  They were so good, in fact, I found myself wishing I had ordered the fries instead of the pear slaw, which I liked, but I liked the fries better.  The burger was a little too rare for my hubby’s taste, so if you prefer your burgers to only be slightly pink, you may want to mention this to the waiter/waitress.

My Final Thoughts:

Would I return to Macadam’s Bar & Grill?  Oh, absolutely.  I really enjoyed the food.  It is what I’d call an “upscale” sort of sports bar, and the prices seem to reflect that a bit, but, in my opinion, it was worth it because the food was delicious.

My husband and I both enjoy Mexican food, and while I’ve enjoyed many of the places that we’ve visited in the past few years, I’m always on the lookout for another place to eat delicious Mexican cuisine.  So, when Living Social offers a voucher for a Mexican Restaurant that I’ve not yet tried, I am eager to buy the voucher!  Let’s eat!

When we arrived at Cha Taqueria, it was too dark to take photos (we dined outside) … I hope that Cha Taqueria doesn’t mind that I borrowed their photo from their online gallery. Please click on the pic to go there!

Location:  305 NW 21st Avenue, Portland, Oregon

Order:  I ordered the Carne Asada Tacos plate ($14) while my husband chose the Chicken Las Rancheras platter ($15).

What I Think:

OK, first of all, I have to say this … the parking for Cha Taqueria STINKS!  There is no parking lot, so the only parking is along the streets, and we drove around for 30 minutes looking for a parking place!  So, if you’re visiting Cha Taqueria, make sure that you arrive in plenty of time to ensure that you can get a parking place and still have time to eat (in other words, don’t do what we did, and start looking for a parking place an hour before the place closes!)  We were nearly too late to order, fortunately, the staff was nice and let us dine so that we would not have to return another evening.  THANK YOU Cha Taqueria for being so considerate of our parking plight!

After shaking off the annoyances of the lugubrious parking situation, we decided not to allow it to taint our dining experience since the staff was so pleasant and kind.  We sat outside – it was a lovely evening! – and placed our order.

Instead of the customary chips and salsa that most Mexican restaurants serve before the meal, we were brought a platter of chips topped with melted cheese and beans.  This was absolutely delicious, and really put us in the right mood for the yummy food that would follow.

Our food arrived surprisingly fast.  The Carne Asada plate was comprised of two soft corn tortilla Carne Asada tacos and black beans.  The steak strips were incredibly tender, it seemed to melt in my mouth!  The flavor of the taco was balanced out with a light squeeze of the lime garnish, this gave it just the right acidic touch to brighten up the flavor of the taco – the meat was succulent and tender, the vegetables were crisp and the salsa provided was SPICY … be sure to use this sparingly!  My husband gave me a bite of his Chicken Enchilada and the chicken was even more tender than the flat iron steak in my Carne Asada Tacos.   Absolutely delicious!

My Final Thoughts:

My husband and I both really enjoyed our meal at Chai Taqueria and I daresay that we’d be happy to visit again … but next time we will be mindful of the parking situation!  The food was absolutely vibrant, tasted so fresh and delicious!

Cha Taqueria on Urbanspoon

I don’t know what possessed me to order another Sports Bar/Grill Living Social voucher.  I guess I am a glutton for punishment!  But, I was kind of excited about this place, if for no other reason than because it was in Vancouver.  We wouldn’t have to worry about the rush hour traffic if we’re a little late headed home after lunch, and even though I call my blog “Hungry In Portland,” I do love the city I call home:  Vancouver, Washington.  So I tried to remain optimistic, and hoped that this would not be a repeat of the past sports bar experiences (the food was great; the atmosphere just wasn’t my thing.)

The Adult Mac & Cheese

Location:  800 Main Street, Vancouver

Order:  I ordered the Adult Mac & Cheese along with a Watermelon Lemonade while my husband ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries.

What I Think:

My “sports bar” concerns were not assuaged when I first walked into the Main Event Sports Grill and to my left, I saw a stripper pole.  Oh great.  This place is SCREAMING sports bar with television screens on every wall at every angle so that no matter where you might be sitting, you can watch a game, and it’s dim lighting and dark decor.  However, after looking past the stripper pole and seeing that most of the patrons were actually female, my spirits began to lift.  Maybe this place might not be so bad after all…

I found a nice table (or so I thought) that was located near a window.  However, it happened to be located next to a table that had been occupied by several women, and my husband complained about their tendency to … well … talk.  A lot.  But that certainly is not the fault of the establishment.  I guess I should have chosen the other side of the booth, so that I would have been the one to endure most of the chatting.

We were served our drinks pretty quickly, and let me just say:  the Watermelon Lemonade ROCKS!  Oh my goodness.  So sweet and delicious.  The sweetness of the watermelon softened the tart lemon, and made for a very smooth beverage.

My “Adult” Mac & Cheese was also delicious.  The “mac” was represented by penne pasta that was tender and not mushy, and it had been smothered in a spicy cheese sauce … seasoned with what I surmised was chipotle pepper and onions.  Bacon was crumbled and tossed in with the pasta, and then the whole cheesy mixture was topped with breadcrumbs and then put under the broiler until it was golden brown.  Finally, the whole thing was topped with some Bleu cheese and served with a lightly buttered breadstick.

Bacon Cheeseburger & Fries

The first thing I noticed is that this bowl was HUGE.  Then, I noticed that the sauce was very … well, saucy.  That is to say, it seemed to be rather thin.  But by the time I’d reached the halfway point, the sauce had thickened up quite a bit and was no longer a puddle of sauce at the bottom of my bowl.

This Adult Mac &  Cheese is a delightful medley of flavors – but it is definitely not for sissies.  It has a real kick to it … and is one of the most flavorful macaroni and cheese dishes I’ve enjoyed in a long time.  The cheese was creamy and tangy, the spice sort of crept up on me, starting out as just an enjoyable warmth but before I knew it, it was a real kick in the mouth!  (It’s a good thing I had that watermelon lemonade!)  The bacon added a pleasing texture and smoky, bacon-y flavor to it all.  Even the breadstick was enjoyable – buttery and a little bit crisp, but warm and tender on the inside.  YUM!

My husband enjoyed his burger, but I think the atmosphere sort of wore on him, and I think he would have enjoyed the experience a bit more if I had selected a different table.  I did manage to steal a fry or two, and they were deliciously crisp, shoestring fries.

My Final Thoughts:

I think I enjoyed this experience a bit more than my husband.  I don’t think we’ll be back, because I think that the atmosphere left a very unfavorable impression on my husband, but as for me, I’d go back if only for the Watermelon Lemonade and Mac & Cheese … maybe a to-go order?  The menu is a bit pricy for us though, however, when one takes in to account that you leave there STUFFED because the portions are large, it seems to soften the blow of the price tag just a bit.  I enjoyed it, my husband not so much, and there are many other places we can go to that are just as good that my husband will also enjoy.

Main Event on Urbanspoon

I wasn’t too excited about visiting this place on the day that we did.  That day was actually reserved for Eat. Art. Theater. (E.A.T) but as it turned out, when we arrived at the address for E.A.T. the restaurant had been closed and the establishment had changed ownership.  I was sad, because E.A.T. really sounded like a place I would have enjoyed.  So, as we were headed back to Vancouver, I remembered that I had a voucher for El Valle and we decided to visit.  And even though this wasn’t the place we had planned on visiting that day, as it turned out, we found a great place for Mexican fare.

Location:  6700 NE 162nd Avenue, Suite #713, Vancouver, Washington

Order:  We ordered a plate of Nachos for an appetizer and I ordered the Combination Plate with a Chicken Enchilada and a Chili Relleno.   To drink, I ordered a HORCHATA!

What I Think:

Well, as I mentioned in the introduction, there was still some lingering disappointment when we first arrived at El Valle… not in El Valle itself, but in the fact that we didn’t get to visit E.A.T.  But my disappointment disappeared rapidly when we ordered.  I noticed there was horchata on the menu (and this tends to be one of THE deciding factors for me on whether or not I’ll revisit a place … whether or not they have horchata!)

But when it came time to order, our server informed me that they were “out” of horchata.  I was visibly disappointed, and my husband remarked “this happens every time we visit a Mexican restaurant.  She sees horchata on the menu, and they don’t end up having it.”  At that, the server said, “I can make more.”  And they did!  And it was delicious!  Yay!

The salsa served at the start (with still-warm, freshly made chips) tasted very fresh.  A lot of tomato in it, with very little cilantro and onion in comparison to the amount of tomatoes … but I like tomatoes, and it had a nice level of spice to it.  I was becoming more and more encouraged with each bite that I was in for some good Mexican food!

The nachos were also quite tasty.  They were smothered in refried beans and loaded with cheese.  Not a cheese sauce… but shredded cheese that was all melted and gooey.  They also had a dollop of sour cream and guacamole on top, and I love guacamole, so I ate the side with the guacamole, while my husband prefers sour cream … so guess which side he ate from?  This is really how I love nachos.  Sure, there could have been other toppings … maybe some fresh tomatoes or something, but, I liked these just the way they were.  Delicious and very filling!

So filling, in fact, that I found it difficult to finish my combination plate.  I did manage to eat a good portion of it, though!  The relleno was delicious.  Chili rellenos are another “deciding” factor for me when it comes to Mexican restaurants.  If their chili rellenos do not impress me, I won’t be back.  They are like a Mexican staple for me, and my stepmother could even make a decent chili relleno, so if a Mexican restaurant cannot make a good one, I won’t return.

But this one was good.  It was stuffed full of cheese, and it had a moderate amount of mild heat from the chili and the batter was light and cooked through (yes, I’ve had chili rellenos that had uncooked egg-y stuff between the cooked outside and the chili … and it was revolting.  Which is why, as I said above, if I go to a place with bad chili rellenos, I won’t be returning).

The chicken enchilada was also quite good.  The chicken was flavorful and very tender.  It seemed to melt in the mouth.  The side of Spanish seasoned rice was tasty, as was the side of cheese topped refried beans.  I didn’t eat too much of either of the rice or the beans, because I had really filled up from the nachos appetizer.

My Final Thoughts:

I will definitely be happy to revisit El Valle.  The flavors that I wanted were there.  I left full and satisfied.  And the fact that they had horchata and even made a fresh batch of it for me really REALLY impressed me.  So, yes, this has elevated El Valle to my favorite Mexican restaurant in this area.  Other Mexican restaurants, take note:  I want HORCHATA!  But as for El Valle:  We will be back.

EL Valle on Urbanspoon

Yep… another sports bar.  What was I thinking?  It was another find from LivingSocial, and this time, I managed to find a place that I would actually revisit… because their Bulgogi Beef Tacos are to die for!

sorry for the grainy quality of the photo... the bar was quite dark, and my camera just couldn't capture enough light to get a good photo. But, I still think it's a good representation of these yummy tacos.

Location:  2401 SW 4th Avenue, Portland OR (this bar & grill is actually part of the TraveLodge building, so when you get to the TraveLodge, you just need to park and walk around to the front of the building … and you’ll find Suki’s!)

Order:  For an appetizer, my husband and I shared a plate of Classic Buffalo Wings with Bleu Cheese Dressing ($7).  I ordered the Bulgogi Beef Tacos ($6) … I hope I spelled that right!  My husband ordered the Cheeseburger (and I forgot to note how much that plate was, sorry!)

What I Think:

First of all, I want to comment on the customer service, because when we first arrived, we were a bit surprised that the bartender was actually waiting on the tables as well.  We had our doubts, but, I must say that the customer service that we received was friendly and accommodating.  Yes, this man was very busy, but, he made sure each one of the customers in the place was well cared for.

The atmosphere … well, I have to say that – as a not-so-hot-on-sports kind of person – that I preferred the atmosphere here at Suki’s to the last sports bar we visited.  Maybe that’s because we visited on a Tuesday rather than a Sunday and the place wasn’t jam-packed full of sports fans yelling at televisions.  But, even though I’m not a particular fan of the sports theme, I found the atmosphere at Suki’s comfortable … if not a bit worn.

The Buffalo Wings were really good.  The wings were fried to crispy perfection, and they were coated with a spicy sauce that I found to be quite warm, but very enjoyable.  I like spicy foods, but, I don’t like them so spicy that I can’t taste anything else but spice.  With these wings, they were spicy-hot, but, I could still taste the tender chicken beneath the spicy sauce.

But… the Bulgogi Beef Tacos.  AMAZING.  Let me say that again.  AMAZING!

The Bulgogi Beef is a Korean style barbeque beef.  It was so tender that it seemed to melt in my mouth.  The barbeque sauce was sweet with a very mild spice to it.  The real spice, though, came from this incredible salsa that was served on the side.  It had pineapple in it, so I thought, ‘eh… it’s probably one of those spicy-sweet kind of salsas,” and I took a spoonful to taste it.  WOW!

Yes, it has a bit of sweetness to it from the pineapple, and I like the fresh, fruity flavor that it gave to the salsa.  But … it has a real kick to it too.  To counter the heat of the salsa, the beef topped a bed of cabbage and was topped with thin cucumber slices that had been sprinkled with some sesame seeds.  The tortilla was a corn tortilla that had been freshly grilled, so it had a light toasty taste and texture.  It had some crispness to it from the grilling, but it was still soft.  I liked this much better than the typical deep-fried corn tortilla.

My husband described the burger as pretty average, like a typical burger from a typical sports bar.  But the fries were less than average – and after trying a few of them, I’d have to agree.  They were cold and tasted … almost stale.

My Final Thoughts:

If you go to Suki’s, don’t go for the burger!  But DO go for the Bulgogi Beef Tacos (at this point, I really hope I’ve been spelling Bulgogi right).  These were incredible and certainly made the trip not only memorable for me, but, were enough to make me want to visit again.  Certainly best tacos I’ve had in a very long while!

Suki's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

I discovered the Pit Stop in Beaverton through Living Social, and to be honest, I don’t think I would have ever visited this establishment had it not been for Living Social.  It’s just not really my kind of place.  In a sports bar like this, I was a fish out of water.  What lead me to purchase the Living Social coupon was I thought it was a place my husband could appreciate because he does love sports.  Unfortunately, we chose to visit on a Sunday, and I was surrounded by football fanatics.  More than the food of this place, what surprised me the most about our time at the Pit Stop was the fact that there are people who are even more excitable than my husband while watching a football game (or in the case of the Pit Stop, all the football games at once).  

Thai Chicken Pizza

Location:  10245 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR

Order:  For an appetizer, we shared an order of Pulled Pork Sliders and Fries ($8.99 for five sliders).  I chose the Thai Chicken Pizza ($9.99 for a 9″ pie).

What I Think:

We had ordered the sliders without the cole slaw topping, and I guess this was overlooked on the ticket, because our first order of sliders arrived at the table covered in cole slaw.  We sent this order back (my husband does NOT like cole slaw).  A replacement (without the slaw) arrived pretty quickly, and I really did enjoy these sliders. The pork was incredibly tender, and they were not slathered with any type of sauce.  Instead, they brought out two different sauces (one mild, one spicy) so that we could top the sliders ourselves.  Since pulled pork is often over-sauced, I liked that I could control the amount and the heat of my sauce (I found that a ratio of 2 parts mild sauce to 1 part spicy sauce was just about perfect).

The french fries were REALLY good.  They were coated in a batter before frying – somewhat reminiscent of a curly fry type batter.  Normally, I don’t really like the curly fry batter, it is often overly seasoned and takes away from the flavor of the potato.  But this batter was spot-on … it enhanced the crispiness of the french fry without overwhelming it.

Before we arrived at the Pit Stop, I did glance at the online menu, and I figured I’d probably order from their barbeque selections.  However, when we got there, my eye kept going back to the Thai Chicken Pizza.  And I’m glad I decided to order this pizza.  Yes, I am sure I would have loved the ribs, but, I really liked this pizza.  The dough itself was just kind of average.  Nothing really outstanding… in fact, it reminded me a bit of biscuit dough but didn’t rise like a biscuit would have.

But the toppings made it for me.  The peanut sauce was yummy, and together with the pineapple chunks it provided sweetness to the pie to contrast the spiciness of the pepper flakes.  The chicken was tender although it was a little on the dry side (since it was probably twice cooked:  once prior to baking the pizza, and then in the oven with the pizza).  But I was able to overlook this because it had a pleasing tender texture, and the flavor of the peanut sauce was so appealing. The sesame seeds added a nice crunchy and slightly nutty element to the pie.

As delicious as it was, I couldn’t finish the pizza in one sitting, but I was able to bring the rest home and the left overs were almost as good as the fresh baked pie.

My Final Thoughts:

While I probably won’t ever be back to the Pit Stop, I certainly did enjoy my visit.  Unfortunately, hanging out in a bar full of screaming sports fans and wannabe sports announcers just isn’t something that’s high on my list of things I want to do.  That being said, if you are a sports fan living in the Portland/Beaverton area, you should definitely stop by the Pit Stop.  I was pleased at how delicious the food was.  The service we received was also very good – our server was very busy so there was some wait time, but, this was more than made up for with personable service.